«(...) Jacob Keryakes, a Coptic Christian, (joined by Caroline Labib Doss), spoke movingly about the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt. Although honor killings are on everyone’s minds right now (including mine), Keryakes described the harrowing situation for Coptic Christian girls and women in the streets of Egypt. Unveiled women are routinely harassed, cursed, fondled, assaulted. Judy Bachrach wrote a piece about this for which she interviewed me. It is a good piece and strongly confirms what Keryakes said. However, he went further. He said that “probably 100%” of Egyptian Christian women are harassed because they don’t wear the veil. They are called “whore,” insulted, spat on – and that’s if they’re lucky. The unlucky ones have their faces burned with acid. (...)
“The unlucky ones are abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and then forcibly married to Muslim men. They are abducting girls as young as thirteen and fifteen. It is against Egyptian law to marry without parental permission at such young ages. In one case, where President Mubarak actually intervened, the two abducted girls were found, forced to appear on television and forced to say that they had married of their own free will and were happy with the arrangement.”
Keryakes and Labib-Doss both said that “Copts in America have become more politically active in the past ten years because of the proliferation of satellite channels geared to a Coptic audience.” Also, it is simply too dangerous for Coptic priests to expose or intervene in such matters without risking death themselves; priests and male Christians are often kidnapped, tortured, crucified, and beheaded. Yes, in Egypt. The country which America has given more than $60 billion to since 1979.
Keryakes said that the Coptic bishop in the United States can’t speak freely about the persecution of his co-religionists in Egypt; if he did so, there would be a backlash against Copts in Egypt. The safest champions of their cause are people who are not part of the Coptic Church. “We are witnessing a silent genocide of Christians in Egypt.”
Keryakes: “When Americans think of the Middle East, they think of the Palestinians. This needs to change. Fifty years ago, most of the professionals, doctors, and businessman in Egypt were Copts. Now, government discrimination has changed all that so now Muslims are the majority in those fields. Al Azhar is now a government-funded university and not just a madrasa, and of course it accepts only Muslims.” Christians are the most persecuted minority in the Middle East.
He is right of course—except, I would add, that Israeli Jews are also under the most profound siege and, were it not for the Israeli armed forces, would long ago have been “driven into the sea.” (...)»